Elliptical machines offer a dynamic combination of high-resistance, low-impact, calorie-burning cardio workouts. The benefits range from offering dual-action workouts, to high-efficiency calorie burning, to reducing strain on sensitive joints, and much more. Let’s explore some of the main reasons these popular machines are worth your time and investment.
Low Impact Workouts
While using an elliptical machine, your feet stay placed into pedals for the duration of the workout, much like in a stationary bike, but with an elliptical machine, they are not strapped in. The motion is comparable to walking in midair. Because of this, the joints in your legs, feet, and lower back are consistently supported throughout the workout, free of strain and stress, and do not experience any hard impact. By contrast, it is found that runners impact up to 2.5 times their body weight with each stride, resulting in high-impact stress and strain on the joints. Elliptical workouts reduce this figure to zero.
Dual Action Workouts
Elliptical machines work multiple muscle groups at once. By holding the handlebars at the same motion you are striding your legs, you work the back, triceps, biceps, chest, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings all at once. Many people do not think to use the handlebars while using an elliptical machine, but to reap the full benefits of the dual action potential, don’t forget to use the handlebars each time!
Target Specific Leg Muscles
By playing around with the incline and resistance levels, you can target specific leg muscles including quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Increasing the incline will work the glutes, while adjusting the foot pedals targets the quads. Motioning the foot pedals in the reverse direction targets glutes and calves.
High Calorie Burning and Weight Loss
Due to the fact that elliptical machines use so many muscle groups at once, this machine results in high-calorie burning workouts because you are able to expend an optimal amount of energy at once. Because of this optimization effect, elliptical users tend to not even realize how much energy they are exerting during a workout, and thus are able to burn more calories in less time compared to workouts on other exercise machines. People can expect to burn between 300 and 400 calories per 40 minutes, which can also result in weight loss when used regularly.
Effective Cardio Workouts Combined with Resistance Training
Strengthen your heart, muscles, and respiratory system with elliptical machines as they offer high-value aerobic workouts. Since the machine effectively pumps more blood and oxygen into your muscles, it helps achieve high-level cardio workouts which improve fitness and health levels with consistent use over time. Your cardiovascular system will thank you!
Using an elliptical machine offers the opportunity to seriously improve your balance. Simply by letting go of the handlebars and hand-grips while using the machine, you can work your core muscles and work your balancing skills simultaneously.
A Great Option for Anyone Recovering from a Sports Related Injury
Thanks to its low-impact nature, elliptical machines are fantastic options for anyone seeking a gentle workout option while in recovery from a sports related injury. Unlike running, jumping, and other high-impact exercises, ellipticals offer a workout that puts little to no stress on your joints.
Some Important Things to Note for Proper Usage
- To use the elliptical machine optimally, it is important to ensure that the heel is not raised during use.
- Step into the pedals firmly to have a proper foot grip throughout your workout.
- Stand up straight with the best posture you can muster throughout your time on the machine, your abs, shoulders, and core should all be engaged and aligned.
- Don’t lean forward on the machine, keep your form while pushing and pulling on the handle-grips.
- Also, it will take some time to play around with resistance to find a resistance level that suits you and your exercise goals.
- Make sure to properly stretch after each workout to avoid injuries.
Our Pick for Best Elliptical Machines on the Market: Bowflex Max Trainer Series
Bowflex Max Trainer models, including M3, M6, and M8 models, are some of the best available on the market. Which one suits you best? Let’s break the Bowflex elliptical machines down for you.
All Bowflex Max Trainer models allow you to burn up to 2.5 more calories than other elliptical machines on the market. They are known for their compact, user-friendly design and warranty benefits. Bowflex Max Trainers offer unique programming options, steep incline design, and the combined motions of a stair-stepper and elliptical trainer.
Bowflex M3 is the most affordable model available and offers 8 different resistance levels. Bowflex M6 is slightly more expensive, but offers 16 resistance levels as well as EKG grips to track your heart rate as you exercise and 5 built-in workouts. The M6 is slightly heavier than the M3.
The most updated Bowflex Max Trainer is the M8 model, which offers many designs and feature upgrades in comparison to the previous models. The M8 features an upgraded LCD 2-window console display that is slightly larger and thus easier to read than the previous models. The M8 offers 20 resistance levels as well as many aesthetic upgrades and 7 built-in workouts. The main drawback to the M8 is that it is currently the most expensive model due to its many design upgrades.
One of the biggest differences between all of the models is the design of the foot pedals on each one. The earlier models feature quite simple foot pedals, while later models feature a more ergonomic design with advanced cushioning. All models weigh more or less 150 pounds and feature transport wheels for easy moving and storing.
Bowflex Max Trainer has an app that users can download onto their personal devices to help them track a plethora of variables throughout their workouts. It tracks calories burned, resistance levels, total workout time, heart rate, intervals, and more. The app features workout video classes which you can follow along to during your workout sessions.